Tuesday, February 21, 2012

We Glow Like Fireflies

Have you noticed there are more of 'us'?
If you haven't noticed, then you haven't been paying attention.

More than ever, educators have taken to social media in general, and Twitter in particular, to connect with like-minded colleagues.

Like fireflies, we're letting ourselves be known to one another through the use of our own secret signals. Tweets are being used to build communities of learners on levels never seen before. Hashtags are binding learners who share common interests and a common vocation.

If you were on Twitter three years ago, you might have participated in the first synchronous educational chat. Like so many fireflies, we were in wonder at the discovery of so many educators ready to talk about teaching and learning.

After taking time to introduce ourselves to one another, the tweets came so quickly, that it was next to impossible to keep up. Looking back at an interesting parallel, I'm smiling in the knowledge that it was in the quiet of the nighttime that we found one another.

And it continues today...
We use Twitter to hail distant colleagues.
We nudge local teachers to share their own firelight.
We inhabit a digital staffroom where the the lights are always twinkling.

We do deep in our thinking - #edbookclub.
We follow distant conferences - #educon.
We play games - #namethattune.
We think in public - #pencilchat.
We build relationships - #PLN.
We become a community - #ds106.

We find ways to let our light shine... on our own time... in the night time.

And though we sometimes dim our lights, going dark to live in the physical world, we always come back. We're drawn to the light of an ever-growing cadre of educators who, to paraphrase Rob Fisher, "care so much about teaching and learning that it hurts."

Time lapse photos of Japanese fireflies were the inspiration for this post. I first encountered them in my daily 'Wired' news feed, and after following a few links, I discovered that they have been re-posted multiple times by fans. Finding the original images on the Digital Photo Blog, I was happy to discover that the images are licensed for sharing under a Japanese CC license by Tsuneaki Hiramatsu.
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